McLaren team boss says development is going according to plan: ‘Eliminating the weaknesses is car development’

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McLaren team boss says development is going according to plan: 'Eliminating the weaknesses is car development'

McLaren team boss Andrea Stella is satisfied with the further development of the MCL38. According to the Italian, development is going in the right direction and the car is behaving exactly as the team expected. Stella agrees with his driver Lando Norris that there is still something to be gained in terms of speed in the slow corners and when the DRS is open, but thinks that the team from Woking still needs twelve months to also tackle these areas. to grab.

McLaren had the biggest comeback of the season in 2023. While the team from Woking started last season at the back of the field, they were suddenly competing for podium places around the summer break. McLaren appears to have kept that momentum going into 2024, but Norris believes the MCL38 is still ‘significantly’ behind the competition in terms of slow corner speed and top speed with DRS.

However, team boss Stella now says that McLaren’s current shortcomings do not come as a complete surprise and are even a ‘consequence’ of the chosen development route. “Eliminating the weaknesses is car development,” Stella explains to Motorsport Week. ‘It’s not that you have these weaknesses because something goes wrong. Nothing goes wrong, the car is just not developed enough and these aspects show up because you are weak in the slow corners or don’t have enough speed with DRS. But this is a consequence of development. Nothing goes wrong.’

McLaren still needs twelve months

The McLaren team boss is very positive about the direction the development of the MCL38 is heading. “If you ask me how the car behaves, I say it behaves very well, as expected,” said Stella. ‘It does exactly what we expect from the wind tunnel, it does what we expect from computer development. You just need to increase the operating point from the point of view of performance, aerodynamic efficiency, mechanical grip, and so on. We’re extremely happy with the pace of development over the last twelve months, but I would say we need another twelve months of development to actually be able to, I think, offer a car that’s strong in DRS and strong in the slow turns.’

Stella once again confirmed that McLaren is preparing an upgrade package for when the European part of the Formula 1 season starts. “We should have some significant upgrades around race six or seven,” said the Italian. ‘Hopefully there will be a few more during the season. Therefore, it will take the whole season before we have enough performance to say that we no longer see these weaknesses, because these areas have improved.”

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